Engineered by Women for Women: Taking Fear out of Breast Screening

Study after study has shown that detecting breast cancer early can dramatically improve the chance of healing and survival. “Mammography has been proven to reduce mortality by 20 percent,” says Claire Goodliffe, marketing director for women’s health at GE Healthcare.

But another, less promising set of statistics haunts Goodliffe: As many as 40 percent of women in Europe and 30 percent in the U.S. skip screening. “They are afraid,” Goodliffe says. “They are afraid of the examination, they are afraid of the pain they may feel, and they are afraid of the results. They are afraid of getting cancer.”

That’s why Goodliffe and her colleagues at GE Healthcare’s campus in Buc, just outside of Paris, set out on a quest to design a mammography machine that wouldn’t scare people. “My design philosophy is to mix science with empathy,” says industrial designer Aurelie Boudier, who joined Goodliffe on the project. “We wanted to build a machine that changed the subjective perception of the mammogram and spoke to the woman to make her feel reassured.” Adds Goodliffe: “We wanted to humanize the examination.”

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article:

Photo Credit: Mammography machines became available in the 1960s, which allowed physicians to see breast tissue in greater detail.